Christmas Trees, While Beautiful, Can Pose Significant Dangers

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and just like that, we're now into December. By now, most, if not all of us have selected our Christmas trees, and have erected them in our homes. While the time-honored tradition of putting up and decorating our trees exponentially boosts the holiday spirit in a home, there are many things we may be doing that put that very home in considerable danger. The good news, though, is that there's plenty we can do to prevent any danger from existing.

If not properly taken care of, Christmas trees can become a fire risk in your home or office. Many times, the fires started by Christmas trees are entirely preventable. It's estimated that one out of every four Christmas tree fires result from poor placement of the tree. A tree placed near a heat source, such as a space heater or fireplace, creates a recipe for danger. It's recommended your tree is placed no closer than three feet away from any heat source. Watering your tree is an absolute must! Trees dry out quickly, especially given the dry air present in the winter months. Watering your tree once a day, or even more often, if possible, greatly reduces the risk of your tree drying out. If you have a pet in the house, it's a good practice to water your tree every time you give your pet fresh water. Lastly, make sure to have a working smoke alarm and a fire extinguisher close to your tree at all times.

One out of three tree fires are attributed to electrical failure. Oftentimes, we want to go over the top with our decorations, which may be doing more harm than good! It's recommended we use no more than three strands of lights on our trees. Be mindful of how much of a load we're putting on our outlets. Overloading the outlets may lead to elevated fire danger. On the obvious side of things, but still very much worthy mention, be sure to turn off the lights any time you're not in sight of the tree, and always make sure the lights are off before you head to sleep.

Electrical failure and tree placement account for a total of 58% of tree fires each year. Taking simple precautions will go a long way in making sure your home does not become a statistic.